Virendra Nath Bhatt
Posted: Dec 19, 2008 at 0209 hrs IST
Lucknow The remarks of Pakistan’s permanent representative in the United Nations (UN) about the influence the Deobandi Ulemas have over Taliban militants active in the tribal areas of Pakistan, has triggered a bitter debate among the Deobandis and Barelvis — the two prominent sub-sects of Sunni Muslims.
While Deobandi Muslims are outraged, Barelvis have welcomed the remark, saying that at last truth has been revealed at an international forum.
Pakistan’s permanent representative in UN General Assembly, Abdullah Hussain Haroon, had said: “I have come up with a very good suggestion. The clerics of Deoband, who wield a great influence in the NWFP of Pakistan and Federally Administered Tribal Areas, should come to Pakistan and issue a fatwa against suicide bombings and the killings of Muslims in Pakistan as well as in India.”
The remark has annoyed the Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband in Saharanpur district and in particular, Maulana Magroobur Rahman, its rector. The seminary has demanded an immediate apology from Haroon.
“The statement is condemnable and we reject it. A responsible officer like the representative of Pakistan in the UN should have refrained from making such an irresponsible statement at an international forum,” read a statement issued on behalf of the rector.
“The Darul Uloom Deoband is of the unanimous view that the Pakistan government should direct its ignorant and rustic official Haroon to tender an unconditional apology for making such a statement, so as to prevent the recurrence of such an act of indiscretion,” it added.
Barelvi Sunni’s, however, have endorsed Haroon’s remark and suggested that the government should keep a watch on what is being taught in Deobandi madarsas.
Maulana Taukir Raza Khan, a prominent leader of the Barelvi Sunni sect, said: “It has been proved beyond doubt that those involved in acts of terror, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir, are the Muslims who follow the Deobandi school of thought.”
“We strongly object to the use of word ‘Jehad’ by separatists waging a war against the state in Jammu and Kashmir. It is also true that only the Deobandis are involved in the so called Jehad,” he added.
Maulana Syed Hashim, another venerated leader of Barelvi Sunni Muslims and a Sajjadanashin of Kachaucha Dargah in Ambedkar Nagar district, said: “Only the Wahabis or the Deobandis and the clerics of this sect are involved in acts of terror in India.” The Centre should keep a close watch on the disciplines imparted in Deobandi madarsas and their syllabus should be prepared under the watchful eyes of the government, he added.